The addiction recovery “clubhouse” recently announced for the city of Amsterdam will be located in the city’s Creative Connections Arts Center, according to city officials.
The creation of the clubhouse, aimed at curbing the heroin epidemic among young people, was announced at the end of January as part of a $1.6 million program that will establish seven such facilities around the state.
The Amsterdam facility will be set up and operated by the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Prevention Council to serve the Mohawk Valley and North Country. The council was awarded $250,000 for the project.
Amsterdam 5th Ward Councilman Jim Martuscello, whose district includes the arts center in the East End, said on Thursday that the grant application prepared last year by HFM Prevention Council and former mayor Ann Thane had identified the arts center as an ideal location.
The three-story building on East Main Street is owned by the city and operated by the Parks and Recreation Department. It currently hosts a variety of programming like a 4H Club, Junior ROTC meetings and a local theater company, among other things.
Martuscello said those programs will continue, and possibly be incorporated into prevention programming.
Ann Rhodes, director of HFM Prevention Council, called it “the perfect location.”
The bottom floor has a kitchen and dining room, which will allow for meals for clubhouse attendees and family dinners, she said, and the second and third floors have plenty of meeting rooms and space for things like exercise classes.
She said she hopes to be able to partner with the 4H Club to use the garden they’ve created behind the building.
“It seems like it’s going to be a perfect neighborhood and perfect spot for us,” she said.
She is planning to meet with city leaders next week to begin discussing details of the plan. According to Martuscello, the city plans to lease the building to HFM Prevention Council for $1, and the council will pay all the utility bills. The city will continue to maintain the grounds.
The grant aims to have the clubhouse up and running by April 1.
The clubhouses are part of a statewide multiyear initiative from the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo to help combat the growing heroin and opioid epidemic.
They will not be treatment centers, but will provide young people with safe, sober recreation, company and support services to help them either stay clean or avoid falling into substance abuse in the first place.
Rhodes said she hopes to be able to build partnerships with organizations already working in the city, like Wishful Thinking and Centro Civico.
While the clubhouse aims to serve the entire population of the Mohawk Valley and North Country, Martuscello said it will “tie in perfectly” with several other initiatives aimed at improving quality of life and providing opportunities for youth in Amsterdam’s impoverished East End.
While the clubhouse is being established this spring, he and others will be working on building a new park and playground about five blocks away behind Centro Civico.
He and Mayor Mike Villa have also begun working with code enforcement to crack down on out-of-compliance properties, tear down vacant buildings and repave streets, he said.
“The mayor and I, we’re making a strong move on the East End,” he said. “We’re going to go slow with it, but we’re going to clean up this area.”
Reach Gazette reporter Kyle Adams at 723-0811, [email protected] or @kyleradams on Twitter.
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